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A lot of news out there. Thanks for stopping by Indian Country Today’s digital platform.

Each day we do our best to gather the latest news for you. Remember to scroll to the bottom to see what’s popping out to us on social media and what we’re reading.

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When the flame is lit on the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, another round in one of the greatest rivalries in the history of sports will begin. There has never been a competition dominated by two countries in all of winter sports quite like women’s hockey.

Since it was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1998, only “The Star-Spangled Banner” or “O Canada” has played after the gold medal was handed out. Without National Hockey League players represented in the men’s competition at this year’s games, there will be an even greater spotlight directed at the women’s game.

Canadian women's hockey player Jocelyne Larocque, Métis, battles for the puck with U.S. player Kendall Coyne Schofield in the Women's World Championship of Hockey in Calgary Alberta, on  Aug. 13, 2021.  Canada won the gold medal 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan, courtesy of Hockey Canada Images)

This year, there are three Indigenous women on the two teams, and when the gold medal is handed out on Feb. 16, it may be one of them who made the play that determined who would be singing the national anthem and who would be singing the blues.

Canada holds the edge, with four of the last six Olympic gold medals, but Team USA is the defending Olympic champion. Both teams are built for battle with a mixture of seasoned veterans and youngbloods who have proven they deserve to be there but have yet to compete under the worldwide gaze of Olympic competition. READ MORE.Miles Morrisseau, special to Indian Country Today

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Ash Barty, a Ngarigo woman, will no longer need to overthink the 1970s when she prepares for the Australian Open.

The top-ranked Barty recovered from 5-1 down in the second set to beat Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (2) in the final on Saturday night, ending a 44-year drought for Australian women at their home Grand Slam tournament.

Ash Barty of Australia celebrates after defeating Danielle Collins of the U.S., in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, in Melbourne, Australia. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Barty is the first Australian women's singles champion since Chris O’Neil in 1978. She was the first homegrown player to reach the final since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley, a tennis icon with seven Grand Slam singles titles and a trailblazer for Indigenous athletes from Australia, was a surprise guest to present the champion's trophy to Barty, who is part of a new generation of Indigenous stars. READ MORE.Associated Press

The New Mexico Legislature is considering three bills aimed at improving education for Native American students that would increase funding to tribal education departments and libraries and allow more tribal control over how funds are spent.

Members of the House Education Committee approved two of the measures Monday morning, while a third bill focusing on higher education funding for Native American teachers is also under discussion.

Santa Clara Pueblo Tribal Education Director Jeremy Oyenque spoke in support of the funding measure, calling the current grantmaking process “cumbersome.”

The school funding bill passed the committee 9-2, and the library bill passed 9-3. — Associated Press

The new year has already brought plenty of news across Indian Country. We learned more about the McGirt decision, lost co-founder of the American Indian Movement Clyde Bellecourt and explained how important redistricting is to Native voices.

Also, ICT launched a new yearlong project on Indigenous economics. "What is the state of Indigenous nations’ economies? How can we measure? Is there a way to represent that in a graphic?" Those are just a few questions ICT hopes to answer.

Before you check out our top January articles below, let's talk jobs. ICT wants to hear from you about jobs, work and life in your community. Take our survey.

Here are the ICT stories you should read up on.

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We meet the new director of the National Museum of the American Indian. The Cherokee Nation has a new incentive program for filmmakers. Plus, some citizens of the Crow Tribe want to hunt big game off their reservation.

Watch here:

When Seraphine Warren couldn’t get answers from law enforcement after her aunt Ella Mae Begay, 62, went missing seven months ago, she started walking.

“I figured we were the only family that was treated like this, and we needed help,” said Warren, who, two weeks after Begay disappeared, walked more than 425 miles from her aunt’s house in Sweetwater to Window Rock, Arizona to bring attention to the case. Because of that trek, other families contacted her with their stories of missing family members. “It was really mind-blowing to hear their stories. The same things were happening to them,” she said. “Some of them have been looking for their loved ones for years.”

Warren and her family were among hundreds of people gathered in Shiprock, N.M., on Saturday, all sharing similar stories of loss, grief and issues with law enforcement. Families and friends of missing and murdered people walked in from all four directions, starting 5 miles from Nizhóní Park. They carried signs for their loved ones, as well as water, meat, fruit, and vegetables to share, each food representing one of the directions. In the middle of the park there was a fire, and people could ask for photos of their missing and murdered to be blessed with burning cedar and sage. READ MORE.Source New Mexico

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